TO THE MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce opposes an amendment expected to be offered by Sen. Rubio to S. 914, the “Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021,” which would imperil the bipartisan agreement on this strong water infrastructure bill.
S. 914 would provide a significant infusion of funding to communities across America to reinforce aging drinking and wastewater systems, including to remedy issues like lead pipes. However, Sen. Rubio’s amendment would change the formula deployed for 34 years to allocate state revolving loan funding. While this formula needs improvement and updating, a change of this magnitude has not been adequately assessed. Affected stakeholders have not had an opportunity for input, and the other positive and negative outcomes of this proposal, such as the communities that would win or lose, are not sufficiently known.
Fortunately, Committee on Environment and Public Works Chairman Carper and Ranking Member Capito have committed to work on legislation to update the SRF allocation formula through the regular order process in more appropriate legislation. We applaud them for their important leadership on S. 914, and for their efforts to update the funding formula.
The Chamber strongly supports the underlying bill, S. 914, and believes the strong bipartisan efforts of the Environment and Public Works Committee to produce this bill is a positive indication that a broader infrastructure package can be completed in a similar, bipartisan manner. We urge you to support the underlying bill and to oppose Sen. Rubio’s amendment.
Neil L. Bradley